During an interview about upcoming Aquakultre projects, Halifax native Lance Sampson greets his daughter, just home from school, with a hug. Fumbling through a stack of mail, he finds an envelope from the provincial government—he’s won another honorarium, for a video this time, he thinks.
As the nominations and awards pile up and the buzz of “Atlantic Canada’s next big thing” swirl around him, Sampson is the picture of groundedness. “I’m not really in it for the accolades, although it’s nice,” he says. “I’m just living my life, man. Making sure the kids are fed. Making sure the art that we put out is real, honest, and it affects people in a good way.”
Alongside promoting the latest album, Don’t Trip, rapper, writer, guitarist and daytime plumber Sampson has been focusing on building the Aquakultre stage performance, taking the show to the next level and making it family-accessible. As well as taking vocal lessons and studying production.
Somehow he’s also found time to raise funds for a local space in need of help. “It’s a rec centre named after George Dixon, a world-famous boxer from Africville born in the 1800s. We want to upgrade their sound system and help with their renovations, so more people in the community can use that space as a venue,” he says. “I grew up in that neighbourhood, so I remember going to a lot of events there for youth. We’re trying to get back to having events there, and more so having gear available for people who are just trying out their material, getting used to performing.”
Giving back is a chief driver for Sampson. “We’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of community support and city support as far as what we do as Aquakultre,” he says. “And I’m not doing this alone. I’ve got a group of friends that I collaborate with a lot to make this stuff happen.”
So what is on the horizon for Aquakultre? Building out that stage show, for sure. But there aren't many plans to take it on the road.
“I don’t really like going on tour for days and weeks at a time; it’s really not my forte,” he says. “I’d rather work on a one-off show, and make something more of an experience. And make it accessible for everybody, not just for people who like to drink.”
Bringing his growing family with him to shows whenever possible is the goal. Because community, of course, begins at home.
Check out Aquakultre on Bandcamp (aquakultre.bandcamp.com) and social media (@aquakultre) to keep in the loop for that next big performance.